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Best Buy running ‘Trade Up to iPhone 5’ promotion through June 29

Jun 21st 2013, 17:25

Best Buy iPhone 5 trade-in promotion

Thinking about picking up an iPhone 5? If you’re looking to upgrade to the bigger-screened iPhone from an iPhone 4 or 4S, you may want to mosey on down to your local Best Buy. The retailer has announced that it’s kicking off a special trade-in offer today that’ll give consumers a $150 Best Buy gift card in exchange for a working iPhone 4 or 4S. That gift card can then be put toward a 16GB iPhone 5, which is available for $149.99 with a two-year commitment. The promotion is available in Best Buy stores and will run from June 21 through June 29.

As with almost any promo, there’s a bit of fine print to be aware of with Best Buy’s offer. The retailer says that the deal excludes T-Mobile, so interested consumers will need to sign up with AT&T, Sprint or Verizon. Customers that do decide to trade in their iPhone 4 or 4S will receive a minimum credit of $150, but Best Buy will add more to a gift card if it determines that a trade-in is worth more than $150.

This is actually the second time that Best Buy has held this promo, originally running it for a single day on June 1. The retailer told USA Today that that was the single-biggest day that its trade-in program has seen in its four-year existence, so it’s no surprise to see that Best Buy is bringing it back and running it for an extended period of time.

Some may think that it’s crazy to buy an iPhone 5 just months before the iPhone 5S is expected to debut. However, the iPhone 5S is rumored to be a somewhat modest update with a few upgraded internals, and so consumers that don’t feel like waiting may not miss out on much if they just want a new phone now.

There’s also the fact that folks could possibly get more for their used iPhones by selling them through Craigslist or eBay. Doing so can take quite a bit more time and effort than trading a device in to Best Buy, though, and for some the convenience of just going to a store and handing them an old phone will outweigh the extra cash that they may have gotten otherwise. What do you usually do with your old mobile hardware when the time to upgrade comes?

Via USA Today, Best Buy Trade-In

Would you have bought the Galaxy S4 Active instead?

Jun 21st 2013, 15:15

Getting a phone here in the United States has been about two things for as long as I can remember: a phone and a contract. We’ve come to expect such high price drops for these devices, thanks to that two-year commitment, that we’ve grown used to them. It doesn’t matter about the “particulars,” or even the truth about what we’re paying each month. It just boils down to whether or not you want to pay $200 (maybe $300), or around $600 right out of the gate to get your hands on a shiny new phone.

The trouble with that contract, the only one we’re going to talk about for the sake of this article anyway, is that it doesn’t just tie you to the carrier and your chosen plan for two years, but also to the phone you just purchased. The carrier doesn’t want you to do anything with that phone once you pass a 14-day return period. After that, you better hope you don’t get bored quickly, because you’ll be looking at it for several more months.

(As long as you don’t find a way around that particular dilemma.)

If you’re someone who doesn’t care about which phone you have (and I’m sure you’re not, since you’re here), then you probably don’t care that manufacturers release phones pretty quickly. Even if they have a flagship device, and even if you bought that flagship handset with your new contract, the chances that something better is coming down the line in a matter of months are pretty high. In fact, if you signed a two-year contract, you should fully expect your flagship phone to get refreshed and replaced before your contract is up.

That’s the most annoying part of the whole thing to me. Phone manufacturers need to make new devices to keep raking in cash and customers, but isn’t there a point where they look at who they’re selling to, and the situations they are, for all intents and purposes, forced into, and react accordingly?

The easy argument there is that not everyone has the same contract expiration date. In fact, some manufacturers would probably suggest that their models of releasing phones so quickly benefits everyone, simply because there are so many people out there qualified for a new phone at any given moment.

Unfortunately, there are probably just as many people out there tying themselves to a phone, and then finding out just after their return window that another phone, maybe even a particularly better phone, is coming out from the same manufacturer.

Our own Anna Scantlin wrote about why she thinks the Galaxy S 4 and Galaxy S4 Active should have been one phone, and I tend to agree. Her argument is that most people could probably benefit from having a water-proof, or overall more “rugged” device. It is a strange exclusivity, I agree, and I agree with her sentiment simply because the Galaxy S4 Active isn’t a bad phone. Actually, I like the display on the S4 Active more than I like the original Galaxy S 4’s. So there’s that.

The truth is, I think the Galaxy S4 Active is a phone that most customers would have liked to have the option to buy, at the same time that the Galaxy S 4 became available. Should they have been the same phone? Probably not, simply because choice isn’t a bad thing, and Samsung likes to offer as many devices as possible to fill as many particular niches as it can. They want to speak to every customer looking for a new phone, and the only way to do that is to have as many phones as possible, all with a certain set of stand-out features.

That’s fine. You can keep throwing devices at the market. However, when AT&T launches the Galaxy S 4 at the end of April, and less than two months later you’ve got the Active coming down the pipe for the same carrier, well, that just boils down to not being cool.

I realize that after that 14-day return window it doesn’t matter when Samsung, or any other manufacturer, launches a new device because of that two-year contract. One month, three, or even six months down the line, it doesn’t matter, because that new phone they’re launching isn’t necessarily for the person who bought the previously released handset. It’s for the other folks who are gearing up to sign a new, two-year contract to get a new phone.

The easy fix here is that Samsung announces all of these Galaxy S 4 variants at the same time, even if they don’t plan on making them available at the same time. You announce every variant at the same time, and then you talk about release windows. That way, people can know they’re waiting, but waiting for something worth getting. Staggering these announcements and launch windows is frustrating.

So my question to you is whether or not the Galaxy S4 Active looks compelling to you. Did you buy a Galaxy S 4, along with a new, two-year contract, and are now upset because the Galaxy S4 Active is coming down the pipe? Or did you wait on pulling the trigger on the original Galaxy S 4 because you wanted to see what else was coming this year? Let me know!

AT&T’s Pantech Flex to receive Jelly Bean update starting today

Jun 21st 2013, 15:10

Pantech Flex AT&T

Looks like today just got quite a bit sweeter for Pantech Flex owners. AT&T just announced that the Flex’s update to Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean will begin rolling out today, June 21. Along with a bump from Android 4.0 to 4.1, AT&T says that the over the air update will bring with it goodies like Google Now, AT&T Drive Mode, widgets that automatically resize when they get too large and improved accessibility options.

It’s always good to see Android phones getting major updates because it usually means that users are getting a whole new set of features to tinker with. That’s definitely the case with this Pantech Flex update, as a move to Jelly Bean brings with it features like expandable notifications and the aforementioned Google Now with its various information cards. AT&T says that Flex owners will receive a text message when their update is available for download, so if you’ve got a Flex laying around, be sure to keep an eye on your SMS inbox in the days ahead.

Via AT&T

iPhone 5 launching at Virgin Mobile on June 28

Jun 21st 2013, 14:25

iPhone 5 Virgin Mobile coming soon

After launching both the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S a little over a year ago, Virgin Mobile announced today that it’ll soon be expanding its iOS offerings with the iPhone 5. The Sprint MVNO says that it’ll begin selling Apple’s latest iPhone in both black and white on June 28, which is just one week from today. Pricing will be set at $549 for the 16GB model, $649 for the 32GB version and $749 for the 64GB variant. Virgin notes that only the 16GB iPhone 5 will be available in stores, meaning that customers will need to hop online if they want a more capacious model.

As far as plans go, the iPhone 5 will be compatible with Virgin Mobile’s no-contract Beyond Talk plans. Those offerings start at $35 per month for 300 minutes as well as unlimited messaging and data (2.5GB of high-speed data). There’s also a $45 per month plan with 1200 minutes and unlimited text and data or a $55 per month option with unlimited talk, text and data. Customers that sign up for automatic monthly payments can receive a $5 discount on their monthly rate.

Considering that Sprint already sells the iPhone 5 and that Virgin Mobile has been offering the iPhone 4 and 4S for over a year now, it’s not a total shock to see that Apple’s latest handset is making its way to Virgin’s shelves. Still, it’s exciting news for customers on the Sprint MVNO, especially since the iPhone 5 supports 4G LTE connectivity. Are any of you Virgin Mobile customers prepping your credit card in anticipation of the iPhone 5’s arrival next week?

Via 9to5Mac

Samsung Galaxy S 4 Active to AT&T

Jun 21st 2013, 13:05

Another ruggedized smartphone joining the AT&T line-up today is the Samsung Galaxy S 4 Active.

Release Date – Friday June 21, 2013
Carrier: AT&T
Regular Price: 594.99
Price: $199.99 after instant savings and with a two-year agreement
Hot Features: 5″ touchscreen display with Gorilla Glass, Android, ruggedized, WiFi, 1.9GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor

NEC Terrain to AT&T

Jun 21st 2013, 13:00

Available through AT&T’s Business Solutions or online, the NEC Terrain can be purchased starting today, Friday June 21, 2013.

Release Date – Friday June 21, 2013
Carrier: AT&T
Regular Price: $429.99
Price: $99.99 after instant savings and with a new two-year contract
Hot Features: Android, WiFi, full QWERTY keyboard, 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon dual-core processor, Push-to-Talk, ruggedized

iPhone 5S reportedly appears in leaked photos with dual-LED flash

Jun 21st 2013, 12:35

iPhone 5S rear leak

There have been several purported iPhone 5S leaks and rumors sprinkled throughout 2013, claiming to show an internal part or have details on what new features may be included in the unannounced device. Today the iPhone 5S leak train continues, but rather than staring at images of some random component, we’re getting a peek at what may be an assembled prototype unit.

Some new photos posted by MacRumors claim to show the backside and inside of Apple’s upcoming iPhone 5S. Looking at the device’s rear without its cover, we can see a battery with a capacity of 5.92 Whr, which is larger than the iPhone 5’s 5.45 Whr battery. Meanwhile, the processor of this iPhone 5S prototype has a code that reads “1243,” suggesting that it was made in October of 2012. The chip isn’t labeled, so it’s not known if it’s the same A6 processor found in the iPhone 5 or something else.

Moving on to the backside of this device, we can see a rear shell that looks pretty much like the iPhone 5 that many folks have in their pocket right now. The one big difference is the flash that’s sitting to the right of the camera; rather than the circular, single LED flash found on the iPhone 5, this appears to be a taller, dual-LED flash that’s similar to the layout shown in a recent case maker design leak. That new flash also up with a rumor from earlier this year that claimed that the next iPhone will sport an improved flash. A separate report suggested that the iPhone 5S camera could be beefed up to 13-megapixels, but it isn’t clear if that’s the case with this unit.

While some may be disappointed that the alleged iPhone 5S in these photos looks fairly similar to the current iPhone 5, many expect that 2013 will bring a new iPhone that looks similar to its predecessor but sports a few upgraded internals, just like when Apple followed the iPhone 3G with the 3GS and the iPhone 4 with the 4S. That may not be the most exciting news ever, but the good news is that at least iOS users will be getting some totally refreshed software to play with this year thanks to iOS 7. Are you planning on upgrading to the iPhone 5S when it’s released?

Via MacRumors

Samsung Galaxy S4 Active Unboxing

Jun 21st 2013, 07:00

Aaron unboxes and takes a first look at the AT&T Samsung Galaxy S4 Active.  While the review is still a few days out, the phone packs similar specifications as the flagship Galaxy S 4, including a 1.9 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 600 CPU, 5-inch 1080p HD LCD, 2 GB of RAM, 16 GB of internal storage, 2,600 mAh battery, 4G LTE connectivity, and Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean with TouchWiz.  That said, its camera is only 8-megapixels (with 1080p HD recording), and it loses a few software features that the Galaxy S 4 offers.  It’s available at AT&T in grey or blue for $199.99 with a two-year contract.

View video here

The ATIV Q is like the chips and dip of hybrid devices

Jun 20th 2013, 16:35

Sometimes you come across things in life that just go well together: peanut butter and jelly, milk and cookies, chips and dip, Dungeons and Dragons, Anna Scantlin and Johnny Depp… I mean, there’s an infinite list of things that just go together! Adding on to that list today is the announcement from Samsung of the ATIV Q tablet/laptop hybrid, which actually happens to be ‘hybrid’ in more ways than just one.

On the one hand, you have a laptop that converts into a tablet (and vice versa); on the other hand, you also have your choice between two operating systems: Windows 8 or Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean). Or, if you’re unsure of which operating system to use, you could simply use both at the same time. Yes, this device really does seem to do it all. Did I mention it has S Pen functionality? I know what you’re thinking, and don’t worry; I’m having a hard time keeping my pants on as well.

Let’s take a quick look at the design aspect of the ATIV Q: This device has a 13.3″ touch-screen display that can be conformed to look like many different devices: you can lay it flat to act as a tablet, fold the screen up to reveal the integrated keyboard, flip the screen backwards to essentially use the keyboard as a stand, or even have the screen lay parallel above the keyboard (to where you can still use the keyboard, but you would be looking down at the screen). The design of the ATIV Q is extremely versatile and if you ask me, Samsung did a great job covering a lot of ways that people would want to view and use such a device.

The ATIV Q has been described as feeling “lightweight” at 2.8 pounds (1.3kg) and “skinny”, yet has also been described as “chunky” at 0.55 inches (14mm) thick when it comes to being used as a tablet. Considering that the device is packing one of Intel’s new Haswell Core i5 processors, a thicker tablet in exchange for powerful processing power is an acceptable trade-off in my book. Intel’s Haswell processors were created to enhance battery life and enhance graphics (which is pretty much what any new processor is trying to do). What supposedly makes the Haswell processor so great is that it’s supposed to extend battery life and graphics for mobile computing to a much greater level than what we’re currently used to. And what is the ATIV Q? A mobile computing device! So while the battery life of the ATIV Q remains a mystery at this point, here’s to hoping that the Haswell processor really does bring forth a new era when it comes to battery life in mobile computing.

But enough about the design, let’s talk specs! I’ve already mentioned the 13.3″ touchscreen display and the Intel Haswell Core i5 processor, but what I haven’t mentioned yet is that the device also has a pretty awesome display resolution at 3200×1800 pixels (275 ppi~). This puts the ATIV Q’s display at the highest pixel count for a 13-inch display yet. The ATIV Q features 4GB of RAM, 128GB of internal storage, and a 720p camera on the front. It also includes a microSD card slot, micro HDMI port, and two USB ports within the hinge of the device.

So far we’ve discussed the awesome versatility and some of the top-notch specs to be introduced with this unique device, so what’s left? Oh yeah, that whole dual-boot thing.

For a lot of people, a Windows/Android tablet/laptop (there has to be an easier way to say that… we’ll just call it a Windroid lablet) is going to be far too much mobile computing for them to really benefit from what the ATIV Q has to offer. But for the people (like me) who sometimes just can’t decide which platform to use or how to use it (tablet or computer?) an all-in-one device like this one could actually be a solid solution. On top of the fact that it dual-boots with Windows 8 and Android, there’s an added bonus – you can add apps from Android on to the Windows 8 side of the device, and run them from there. Pretty. Friggin’. Sweet.

In my opinion, this device is truly the definition of the best of both worlds from both a design and a multi-platform aspect. You get all of the benefits of PC computing when you need it, plus the added functionality of tablet computing whenever it’s more convenient. Samsung was also clever enough to know that if you have a touch screen device that serves as a tablet half the time, why not include the S Pen? Worse comes to worse, it’s there if you use it, it’s not if you don’t (and you might be surprised how often you’ll use it once you have it – I know I was).

All in all, I have to say I’m thoroughly impressed with what I’ve seen so far from Samsung’s ATIV Q. I’m almost certain that a hybrid with features like this will probably come with a high price tag, but regardless of the price I feel like Samsung deserves credit for what they’ve come up with here.

Readers, what are your thoughts on the ATIV Q? Do you think that a hybrid device as complex as this one will be a big seller in the market? Share your thoughts with me in the comments below!

Images via Geek, The Verge

LG holding event on August 7 in New York City

Jun 20th 2013, 15:00

LG Optimus G rear

Jonesing for some more of the excitement and surprise that only a mobile event can provide? If so, I’ve got some good news and some bad news. The good news is that LG announced tonight that it’s holding an “international media event,” inviting Android Central and others to a shindig that’ll take place in New York City. The bad news? The gathering is scheduled to go down on August 7, which is well over a month away.

As is usually the case with these event invitations, LG hasn’t said exactly what it’s got planned for the event. That doesn’t mean that we can’t speculate, though! One possibility is that we could see the Optimus G successor that LG was talking up last night. Not only was the company just teasing the upcoming device and its Snapdragon 800 processor, but LG has previously said that the next Optimus G device will debut in Q3 2013, a window of time that August is a part of.

Another factor that points toward a new Optimus G is the fact that LG refers to the gathering as an “international media event.” That suggests that it’s got something big in store, like a new flagship product. For now we’ll just have to wait and see if an Optimus G follow-up truly what LG’s got up it’s sleeve, so keep it locked to PhoneDog and we’ll find out together.

Via Android Central

Samsung Galaxy Camera NX First Look

Jun 20th 2013, 11:35

Aaron goes in-depth with the Samsung Galaxy Camera NX, announced tonight at Samsung’s Galaxy and ATIV event.  The Samsung Galaxy Camera NX is the original Galaxy Camera on steroids.  Featuring a 1.6 GHz quad-core processor, 20.3-megapixels, and Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean with TouchWiz, the camera – while not pocketable – brings LTE and exchangeable lenses to the masses.  It’s a great device for those that enjoy taking pictures yet want the flexibility of an always-on solution.

View video here

The Bite-Sized Video: Vine, Instagram, or Zoe?

Jun 20th 2013, 11:30

It all started on January 24, 2013: the day that Vine was available on iOS devices. “Vine”; what exactly is Vine? For those who don’t know, Vine is a unique video-sharing application (now available on both iOS and Android) that allows you to record 6 second videos, either in snippets or all in one recording session.  Vine was acquired by Twitter in October of 2012, and within 6 months of its acquisition Vine became the most downloaded free application on the iOS store on April 9, 2013; arguably, Vine’s “bite-sized” videos could be one of the most popular concepts for media sharing in social networks.

It’s hard not to see the benefits of being able to easily record bits and pieces of video within 6 seconds, especially when it comes to Twitter, which the Vine application was initially built for. People look to Twitter for short snippets of information from news outlets, websites, celebrities, and of course friends and family. The ability to mention other people in a Tweet or use hashtags make it easy to reach out to anybody you want – it’s a social media world that has very little limitations, aside from how many characters you can type into a single status or reply. The one element that brought the Twitt-o-sphere together was taking the same time-saving concept they applied to their statuses and putting it into a video app. Thus, Vine was born, and phenomenally so.

The concept that Vine uses certainly has its benefits whether you use it specifically for Twitter or not. Instead of spending hours on a video editing program trying to figure out how to cut scenes from your own video, you have the ability to simply touch anywhere on your screen for the duration of time that you want to record. When your six seconds are up, the application strings these snippets together to create these short, personal videos. To put it in to perspective on just how easy Vine is to use, I have no prior knowledge of how to edit videos and I created my first Vine video within a minute. “So easy, an Anna can do it.”

It’s a simple concept that caught on like wildfire, so naturally it comes as no surprise when other companies want in on the action as well – especially when it’s another popular company, like Instagram. In recent news, we find out that Instagram is adding its own video recording feature to its application which will allow users to do the same things that Vine can do, except the videos last for 15 seconds and you can include your favorite Instagram-y features, like filters. According to Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom, it’s taking “everything we know and love about Instagram, but it moves”. So basically, it’s Vine… with filters. Depending on what you’re looking for in a short video-making application, 15 seconds and filters might be just what you need.

And then you have the granddaddy concept of them all, which features concepts from both Vine and Instagram and rolls them into one: HTC Zoe. Zoe’s strong point is taking the popular features from both Instagram (photos with filters) and Vine (short video snippets) and rolling them all together to make a creation called a “Zoe”. Zoe creations can vary in time allotments (meaning that you’re not limited to 6 second videos or 15 second videos) but they seem to be directed towards more personal use rather than mass social media use – like bringing a photo album to life, in a sense. The major drawback to HTC’s Zoe back is the fact that it’s not an app that anybody can download; it’s only available for use in select HTC devices (as of right now, only in the HTC One. HTC claims to be releasing both Blinkfeed and Zoe into previously released HTC devices sometime in the future). So while it might not be considered direct competition for Instagram and Vine in the app market, it could be a deciding factor for people who are looking to upgrade or purchase a new smartphone in the future if that kind of feature is important to you.

So which one should you use? If you’re not carrying an HTC device or don’t plan on carrying one, obviously Zoe is an automatic out for you. Also, if you’re using a BlackBerry 10 or Windows Phone device you’re on the outs for any of these applications officially (for now, but rumors suggest that it might not be long before both platforms receive Instagram). But between iOS and Android users, which one is better? Vine would most likely be more suitable for people who frequently use Twitter, and who also don’t care for the filters and photos that Instagram is most infamous for. Instagram, on the other hand, would probably be a better choice for people who do enjoy the use of filters or perhaps need longer than 6 seconds to create a bite-sized video.

So readers, between these three bite-sized applications, which one would you rather use? Do you like the convenience of the 6 second snippets from Vine, the filters from Instagram, or the use of both through Zoe? Tell me what you think in the comments below!

Images via Rachel Simmons, Forbes

Samsung Galaxy S4 zoom First Look

Jun 20th 2013, 11:10

Aaron takes a first look at the Samsung Galaxy S4 zoom after Samsung’s Galaxy and ATIV premiere event.  Specifications include a 1.5 GHz dual-core CPU, 4.3-inch qHD display (540×960 pixels), 2,330 mAh battery, Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean with TouchWiz.  The winning feature is (obviously) the 16-megapixel camera with optical zoom.  Think Galaxy Camera fused with Galaxy S4 mini, and you have the Galaxy S4 zoom.  No word on whether we’ll see it on US carriers, but if we did – would you buy one?

View video here

Samsung Galaxy S4 mini First Look

Jun 20th 2013, 10:40

Aaron gets some hands-on time with the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini.  Featuring a 1.7 GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 Pro CPU, the mini packs a 4.3-inch qHD display (540×960 pixels), 8-megapixel camera with 1080p HD recording, 1,900 mAh battery, and Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean with TouchWiz.  It’s a compelling alternative for those that love the Galaxy S 4 but don’t want to deal with the added size.  While it loses some of the high-end specs like the quad-core CPU and 1080p HD display, it’s much easier to manage on the size front.

View video here

New Galaxy S 4 colors shown off by Samsung

Jun 20th 2013, 09:00

Samsung Galaxy S 4 Blue Arctic, Red Aurora

After teasing new Galaxy S 4 colors last month, Samsung today offered a look at the new paint jobs that its flagship smartphone will be receiving. The company says that the Galaxy S 4 will be available in Blue Arctic, Red Aurora, Purple Mirage, Brown Autumn and Pink Twilight, in addition to the Black Mist and White Frost models that are currently available.

Samsung didn’t offer exact availability details for these new colors, but it has previously said that the blue and red devices will arrive this summer, with the brown and purple models following sometime after. AT&T is the only U.S. carrier that’s currently stocking one of these colorful S 4’s, having recently launched the Red Aurora model.

It’s no secret by now that Samsung is a big fan of choice, offering hardware that comes in a range of colors and sizes. That’s why it’s no surprise to see the Galaxy S 4 getting several new paint jobs, just like the Galaxy S III before it. We’ll likely have to wait for individual carrier announcements before we know where these different S 4 colors will be headed, but considering that each major U.S. operator got its own colorful model last year, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a similar situation again this year. Which of these new Galaxy S 4 colors do you like best?

Samsung Galaxy S 4 Purple Mirage, Brown Autumn

Samsung Galaxy S 4 colors June 20 event

Via Android Central

Sprint ups Clearwire bid to $5.00 per share, secures recommendation from Clearwire’s board

Jun 20th 2013, 08:35

Sprint logo CTIA

Sprint may have previously said that its bid of $3.40 per share for Clearwire was its “best and final offer,” but it looks like the big yellow carrier has had a change of heart. Sprint just announced that it has upped its bid for the portion of Clearwire that it doesn’t already own to $5.00 per share, besting Dish Network’s recent offer of $4.40 per share. Sprint’s latest bid for Clearwire is nearly double the original $2.97 per share offer that it made late last year.

In addition to announcing its new bid, Sprint has revealed that a large group of minority Clearwire stockholders have agreed to vote in favor of this new $5.00 per share bid. Sprint says that 45 percent of Clearwire’s minority shareholders have agreed to vote in favor of its new bid. Meanwhile, Clearwire announced that its board of directors have switched their recommendation from Dish’s offer to Sprint’s. Clearwire has also decided to postpone its June 24 shareholder vote on this situation until July 8.

It’s kind of crazy to see Sprint boost its bid for Clearwire from $3.40 per share to $5.00 per share, even though it previously said that $3.40 was its “best and final offer,” but I wouldn’t be surprised if Sprint has gotten even hungrier for Clearwire now that its deal with SoftBank looks like it’ll happen. Dish and Sprint are clearly now locked in a bidding war for Clearwire, and it’ll be interesting to see what Dish comes back with. The company recently dropped its attempt to acquire Sprint and said that it planned to focus on its Clearwire offer, so I’m sure that Dish will have something to say about this new $5.00 bid from Sprint. Do you think that Dish will come back with a higher offer for Clearwire?

Via Sprint, Clearwire

Here’s what I hope makes it to the final version of iOS 7

Jun 20th 2013, 07:55

All right then. iOS 7. It’s about time that Apple’s mobile operating system got a kick in the you-know-what, and now that it’s here there’s plenty of conversation swirling around about it. There are people who love it, and there are people who hate it. There are, somewhere, even people who are “sitting on the fence,” and holding judgment until the final version of the software is released to the public. You know, acting rationally, maybe. Maybe.

Either way, iOS 7 is out there, in the wild, one way or another, and people can check out the early build of the latest update to the platform. We’re on the first beta of this particular version of iOS, and there are going to be plenty more down the road before it finally releases this fall. As those new versions come out, there will be new features added, some tweaks removed, and things will change over time, just as they should.

Nothing is set in stone. The iOS 7 we’re seeing now, and indeed what we saw announced on stage at WWDC, could very well be quite different than what we see later this year.

Not too long ago, my fellow editor Anna wrote about her first impressions with iOS 7, and what she thinks of the overall changes that Apple brought to its mobile OS. She liked it for the most part, but there were some things she’d change. And, yes, there are some things that I’d change, too, but that’s not what I want to talk about this time around.

Instead, I want to talk about things I’d keep.

For the most part, these are things that I think may not be kept around in the final version of iOS 7, for whatever reason. Whether it’s a design choice, or a bug that’s actually working, I just believe they’ll get switched out by the time the final product is ready to go.

First and foremost, the lock screen music controls. In the current public version of iOS, you double-tap the Home button and you get media controls, “Play/Pause”, “back”, and “next.” It’s an easy way to control your music without having to dig into whatever music app you’re using.

In iOS 6.1.x, those music controls disappear, and it goes back to the normal, control-less, lock screen if the display goes dark. So, you’d have to double-tap Home again to get the controls back. However, in iOS 7, they actually stick around a bit longer. If I’ve activated the controls, hit the Power button to shut off the display, and then turn it back on? The controls are still there, ready to go.

I have no idea if this is a bug or not, but I hope it’s not. Double tapping the Home button all the time is not something I like to do.

I also really hope that the new Clock app icon sticks around, because it works. As in, it actually tells you the time. Why anyone would look at it instead of, say, the actual time displayed at the top of the display is beyond me, but it shows that Apple’s actually paying attention to the idea of app icons that aren’t just static pictures.

Seriously, Apple. Now that you’ve got the Clock app icon to work (was that on someone’s “to-do list?”) make the Weather app icon show the accurate temperature! Just do it already!

The other thing I’d keep? The new stock app icons. Yep, that’s right, I’d keep them. Just as they are. I know, that’s crazy talk, but the truth of the matter is I like how different they are to their previous iterations. Sure, the GameCenter app icon doesn’t make any sense, but what exactly does a “GameCenter” look like? An arcade game cabinet? No. A living room? Maybe. Whatever the case, it probably doesn’t look like four globules of varying colors. Which is why I think it’s awesome. It’s just so random, and unexpected.

There are a ton of other things that I’d keep, but those are things I have no doubt will be kept. Features buried within iOS 7 and what not. Are there hiccups with the first beta? Yes, of course, but I can’t say anything negative about them, or even really talk about them in general. It’s a beta. It has bugs. Guess what? The next beta will probably have bugs, too. In fact, depending on what new features Apple adds to the mix, it could have more bugs! Scary, right? Not so much.

In any event, I think Apple’s given iOS the injection of life and difference it needed over previous versions, but still kept the system functional in the way that iOS users expect. So, it’ll be fun to see what the final version looks like on the next iPhone.

Based on what you’ve seen of iOS 7 so far, is there anything that you’d change immediately? Something you can’t stand to even look at? The whole thing? Just an app icon in particular? Or do you think this is the best next step for iOS? Let me know what you think.

Samsung Galaxy NX camera packs Jelly Bean and LTE, ATIV Q slider outed with Android and Windows 8

Jun 20th 2013, 07:20

Samsung Galaxy NX rear

Samsung has introduced a number of new Galaxy-branded products in recent weeks, including the Galaxy S 4 Active, Galaxy S 4 mini and Galaxy S 4 Zoom. Apparently the company still had room up its sleeve for a few more new devices, though, as Samsung today announced the new Galaxy NX camera and a pair of ATIV tablets.

First up is the Galaxy NX, an Android 4.2 Jelly Bean-powered camera with interchangeable lenses. The Galaxy NX packs a 20.3-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor, ISO of up to 25,600 and a built-in pop-up flash. Samsung says that there are a number of interchangeable lenses for Galaxy NX users to choose from, including pancake lenses, fisheyes, and longer prime and zoom lenses. Galaxy NX owners also have the option of capturing 3D images and video using Samsung’s 45mm 2D/3D lens and the True 3D Creator feature of the NX.

Rounding out the Galaxy NX’s spec list is a 4.8-inch HD LCD touchscreen, 1.6GHz quad-core processor, 16GB storage, microSD slot, 2GB RAM and a 4,360mAh battery powering the whole package. As far as connectivity goes, the Galaxy NX will be available with 42Mbps HSPA+ and 4G LTE support, depending on the market.

The Galaxy NX isn’t Samsung’s first Android-powered camera, as the company launched the aptly-named Galaxy Camera last year with Jelly Bean in tow. The Galaxy Camera is more of a point-and-shoot-style camera, though, while the Galaxy NX looks to be a higher-end, more professional device. There’s no word yet on when the Galaxy NX will launch or how much it’ll cost when it does, but you can bet that I’ll update you as soon as that information becomes available.

Along with the Galaxy NX, Samsung today took the wraps off of the ATIV Q. This convertible device runs both Android and Windows 8, allowing users to choose the OS that best suits their needs at a particular time. It also features a hinge design that lets users place the ATIV Q in a tablet-style mode, laptop mode, a floating-display mode or a stand mode for easy video-watching. One other major feature of the ATIV Q is its 13.3-inch display, which sports a QHD+ 3200×1800 resolution.

In addition to its crazy hinge and high-res display, the ATIV Q packs an Intel Core i5 processor, Intel HD Graphics 4400, 4GB RAM, a 128GB SSD and camera with 720p HD video support. There’s also a variety of ports on this convertible device, including USB 3.0, USB 2.0, microHDMI and SD. The ATIV Q also supports Samsung’s S Pen stylus, just like the company’s Galaxy Note line of products.

Rounding out the new batch of Samsung products is the ATIV Tab 3. As the name suggests, this is a new Windows 8 tablet that features a body similar to the one found on the Android-powered Galaxy Tab 3. The ATIV Tab 3 features a 10.1-inch 1366×768 touchscreen on its face and a camera on its backside. Buried inside the ATIV Tab 3’s 8.2mm-thick frame is 64GB of flash storage, microSD card slot, 2GB RAM and an Intel Atom Z2760 processor. Like the ATIV Q, the ATIV Tab 3 also includes support for Samsung’s S Pen. A gallery with images of all three new Samsung products is available below.

Samsung Galaxy and Ativ event liveblog!

Jun 20th 2013, 07:00

Samsung takes the stage this evening in London to announce the latest additions to the Samsung Galaxy and Ativ product lines.  While we’ve seen several announcements from the Korean giant in the weeks leading up to the event – Galaxy S 4 Active, Galaxy S 4 Zoom, and Galaxy S 4 Mini, to name a few – there’s always room for a surprise announcement.  The event kicks off at 7:00 PM BST (that’s 2:00 PM Eastern).

Will there be any surprises?  Join us starting at 1:45 PM Eastern/12:45 PM Central/10:45 AM Pacific and we’ll find out together!

Instagram officially set to gain video capabilities

Jun 20th 2013, 06:15

Instagram video official screenshots

Today is an event double-whammy, with Facebook starting things off and Samsung following shortly thereafter. Facebook used its event this afternoon to announce that Instagram is gaining video-sharing capabilities, confirming the rumblings that first started popping up earlier this week.

With its new video support, Instagram will allow users to capture 15 seconds of action and then apply one of 13 custom filters that are only available for video. After the video is capture, a user can select a custom Cover Frame for the clip that will appear in their friends’ feeds and entice them to watch them entire thing. Instagram is also enabling a feature called “Cinema” for its videos, which is a cinematic stabilization capability that will help cut down on the shaking in users’ clips.

Video for Instagram is coming today to both Android and iOS, which is exciting news for the Android users that endured a lengthy period of Instagram iOS exclusivity before the app finally came to Android last year. The update is already available for iOS users in the App Store, and while it’s not showing up quite yet in the Google Play Store for Android, it should be arriving soon.

Instagram has been one of the most popular ways to share photos on mobile for some time now, but the service has recently been splitting its content-sharing throne with Vine, an app that allows users to capture and post six-second videos. With today’s announcement, it looks like Instagram has decided that it wants a slice of that video action as well. What will be interesting is seeing how many people begin using Instagram for video, which supports 15-second clips, rather than dedicated video-sharing app Vine and its six-second videos. What do you all think of today’s announcement? Will you begin recording and posting videos on Instagram?

Via Instagram blog, Instagram: iOS App Store, Google Play for Android

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